Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Anime-zing Race: Spring 2015, Week 5

It's one thing to stay on my watchlist; it's another thing to stay in the race.
Last week, my final watchlist was finalized, with most shows putting up solid to outstanding performances, and in the end, it was Plastic Memories that was the last show that had to be dropped from my watchlist. The standings are:

  1. Sound! Euphonium
  2. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
  3. Hello! Kinmoza
  4. My Love Story
  5. Baby Steps Season 2
  6. The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
  7. Show by Rock
  8. Wish Upon the Pleiades
  9. Re-kan
  10. Rin-ne
  11. Food Wars - Shokugeki no Souma
  12. Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches
  13. Mikagura School Suite
As a reminder, from now on, shows do not have to be dropped; they can simply be eliminated from the race, while I still watch the show outside of the race. That said, shows that are "out" will become lower-priority shows, which I am more likely to fall behind on.

This time around, Yamada-kun will be judged mainly on episode 4, while other shows will be judged on episode 5. So let's start the fifth leg of the race!

At this point, I don't even need to pretend that anything other than Sound! Euphonium is at the front of the race. It takes its fifth straight 1st place finish, this time with a show of marching band activities and some nice character developments all around. This time, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU puts up an even stronger performance as it takes 2nd, with another great display of character depth, as well as one of the best, most genuine, displays of brother/sister closeness in anime.

No weird incest subtext, just pure sibling affection.

Hello! Kinmoza also has a great episode, featuring on one end a nice little story focusing on Shinobu's older sister Isami, and on the other end, a hilarious chain-of-deals story, and it takes 3rd place handily. This time around, though, Baby Steps Season 2 takes up 4th place with a great episode that returns Eiichiro to Japan and puts some development not just into his tennis, but also his burgeoning romance with Natsu. Meanwhile, My Love Story's latest episode seems to be more setting up than anything for some more depth to Rinko's character, which would be greatly appreciated--not to mention that Takeo seems to realize his denseness and is trying to work on that, which is refreshing.

This time, though, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is able to close the gap and approach the front pack of racers, as it takes what could have been a disastrous misunderstanding-fueled plot and instead turn it into a surprisingly good storyline that makes the most of Haruhi's personality. It's one of the reasons I'm loving this spinoff so much: in many ways, I feel it adds to the characterizations of these characters by showing how their personalities work in different scenarios.

The story of the back pack has largely been about the rise of underdogs: shows that might not have seemed to be aspiring to greatness turning out surprisingly strong performances. Show by Rock is a great example of this as it takes 7th place with an episode that adds to the character development and also exploring the conflict between Cyan's desire to perform in the band, her mission to defeat the dark monsters, and even possibly her desire to go back home one day. Re-kan takes 8th place with a fun episode that introduces us to Hibiki's dad... who's quite the character himself, not to mention showing some of Hibiki's mom. Rin-ne is also showing some nice positive development in its characters, while just being overall fun, and it takes 9th place. Wish Upon the Pleiades's Itsuki-centric episode wasn't as overall strong, but it's still a solid, cute episode that, among other things, sends the girls even further into space. One has to wonder just how far into the universe they'll end up going by the end of the show. At any rate, it takes 10th place.

Also, Prince Itsuki and Princess Aoi are adorable.

The last three are Food Wars, Yamada-kun, and Mikagura School Suite. They're all plenty good shows on their own, but as this is a competition, one will end up in last place and be eliminated from the race. Which one will it be?

Well, it won't be Mikagura School Suite, which comes in 11th place as it finally breaks the stoic fa├žade on Seisa and shows some more of what she might be going for on her end. And Food Wars - Shokugeki no Souma introduces its titular Food Wars and looks to be taking things in a more competitive direction, as it takes 12th place.

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, for its part, did okay, too, as it introduces the fact that there are more kiss-powered effects than just body-swapping. That is interesting enough as it is, and I'm still interested in watching more, but unfortunately, it just barely loses out to the rest of the shows, and as such, it is out.

This show won't be switching out of my watchlist, but it will have to kiss its chances of winning the race goodbye.

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